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Greater Bendigo - first in Australia to be crowned a Welcoming City

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The City of Greater Bendigo is the first local government in Australia to be accredited as a Welcoming City by the Welcoming Cities Network.

Welcoming Cities is a national network of cities, shires, towns and municipalities, who are committed to an Australia where everyone can belong and participate.  The network recognises that of all tiers of government, local councils are best placed to understand the complexity and diversity of their communities.

Welcoming Australia CEO, Aleem Ali, congratulated the City on the achievement.

“The City of Greater Bendigo continues to demonstrate significant leadership both as a member of the Welcoming Cities network and across local government in Australia,” Mr Ali said.

“Achieving accreditation as an ‘Advanced’ Welcoming City is not easy and it highlights that the City is actively pursuing their vision to become the world’s most liveable community.”

City of Greater Bendigo Chief Executive Officer Craig Niemann said the City is delighted to receive the Welcoming City accreditation.

“Achieving accreditation as a Welcoming City recognises Greater Bendigo’s commitment to cultural diversity, Aboriginal reconciliation and social cohesion,” Mr Niemann said.

“It also highlights the contribution of our community agency partners and settlement services who have and continue to assist the City to deliver actions in the Greater Bendigo Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2016-2019.  

“Achieving accreditation raises Greater Bendigo’s profile at the State, National and International levels, and sets a benchmark for the City to continue its work to improve services and ensure Greater Bendigo is a welcoming city for all.

“The accreditation comes after the City received a Victorian Multicultural Commission Award for Excellence in the Government and Civic Leadership category in November 2019.

“The accreditation recognises the City’s commitment and leadership in promoting harmony and social cohesion through its Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Plan in partnerships with a broad range of community agencies.”

Some initiatives that have been undertaken in the past few years include establishment of the Intercultural Ambassadors program, Community Harmony project and Building Culturally Inclusive Sporting Clubs program.  A range of training has occurred throughout the community and a number of important educational videos and information has been produced.

Greater Bendigo is one of 52 members of the Welcoming Cities Network with the Network representing over 30 per cent of Australia’s population.

The Welcoming Cities Network is an initiative of Welcoming Australia which is supported by Welcoming International a growing network of more than 200 municipalities around the world.

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